An Enduring Powers of Attorney (otherwise known as an EPA) is a legal document which allows you to appoint one or more persons to make decisions and act on your behalf in the event that you lose your mental capacity at a later date. The law allows you sign a legal document – an Enduring Power of Attorney – to appoint one or more persons – usually a close family member (known as “Attorneys”) in advance of mental incapacity to make decisions, not only for financial matters, but also about health and personal welfare.
Protections for you at time of signing an EPA
Not only must a Registered Medical Practitioner (your GP or Medical Consultant) sign a Medical Certificate at the time you sign the EPA, to confirm your mental fitness at that time and that you understand what you are doing; but also, for your protection, two other persons (“Notice Parties”) must be notified at that time that you are signing the EPA. This is relevant as, in the event of your subsequent mental incapacity at a later date and your Attorneys seeking to register the EPA to take control of your affairs, your Notice Parties must receive 5 weeks` notice in advance of the application to register the EPA (see below).
An EPA continues in effect if you lose mental capacity.
By signing an EPA you ensure that your interests are protected by someone you trust, in case you are unable to manage them yourself – perhaps if you have had an accident or illness. If someone is diagnosed with a condition that is likely to cause loss of mental capacity, such as:
– Neuro-disability/brain injury
– Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
then it is very advisable to think about who will take care of their affairs and make decisions for them.
It may be difficult to think that you might lose your mental capacity one day, but it is reassuring to know that your wishes and preferences are being managed by someone you choose.
It is always better to think ahead and plan for the future.
You don’t necessarily need to be unhealthy to consider making an Enduring Power of Attorney. In fact, the time to make an EPA is when it is least needed. This can be done once you are 18 and while you are still capable of understanding the nature of this legal document and its implications.
What happens when I become incapable of managing my affairs?
If your attorney(s) have reason in the future to believe that you have become or are becoming mentally incapable of managing your affairs, your attorney(s) must apply to have the EPA registered in the High Court. Once registered, the EPA cannot be revoked unless the Court confirms the revocation. You however may revoke the EPA at any time before registration.
Before applying for registration of the EPA, your Attorney(s) must give written Notice of Intention to do so to you and to the persons you notify of the execution of the EPA (the “Notice Parties”). You and these persons (if they are not then available, certain of your relatives) will be able to object if you or they disagree with registration.
A very sensible course of action
It is a very sensible course of action to sign an EPA; that way you retain control over who can make decisions on your behalf and for your benefit after you have been rendered mentally incapable.
The earlier you decide to draw up an EPA, the better.
So, why not contact your solicitor about this process today?
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